Commercial Electric Vehicles: Worth it For Your Business?
January 3rd, 2024
Last updated: January 3rd, 2024
In recent years, the automotive industry has witnessed a surge in the development and adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), and commercial electric vehicles are becoming a mainstay. As businesses seek to align with sustainability goals and reduce their carbon footprint, the question arises:
Are commercial electric vehicles worth the investment for businesses? This article explores the advantages and challenges of integrating electric vehicles into commercial fleets.
Advantages of Commercial Electric Vehicles
The advantages of electric vehicles and an electric fleet are pretty clear for most businesses. We know why these cards are taking over, and why the EV share is forecast to reach 19% by 2030 with 6.4 million cars forecasted to be on the roads in the UK, and more and more charging points being installed.
Benefits of electric vehicles include:
CEVs contribute significantly to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. Businesses opting for electric fleets can enhance their corporate social responsibility (CSR) image, attracting environmentally-conscious customers and investors.
EVs generally have lower operating costs compared to traditional, “old-fashioned” internal combustion engine vehicles. Electricity is often cheaper than buying petrol or diesel, resulting in reduced fuel expenses, though the electricity costs have definitely spiked in the UK recently.
Maintenance costs are also lower for electric vehicles, as they have fewer moving parts and typically experience less wear and tear. You won’t need a gear box replaced, for instance.
Many governments offer incentives and subsidies to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles. These can include tax credits, rebates, and grants, making the initial investment more attractive for businesses. Some low-emission vehicles are eligible for a plug-in grant to assist with purchase prices. This is built into the cost of the vehicle though, rather than being a rebate.
Ongoing advancements in battery technology and charging infrastructure are addressing some of the initial concerns related to range anxiety and charging times. Improved battery life and energy density contribute to more reliable and efficient electric vehicles.
Challenges of Commercial Electric Vehicles for Businesses
It isn’t all rosey, and there are many reasons why people are sticking with their current fleets for the time being too. Some of the challenges and worries people have include:
The upfront cost of purchasing electric vehicles, especially for commercial fleets, can be higher than traditional vehicles. Businesses may hesitate to invest due to budget constraints and uncertainties about the return on investment (ROI).
The availability and accessibility of charging infrastructure remain a significant challenge. Businesses need to plan for installing charging stations, and those that travel large distances need to ensure they can access charging points.
Range Anxiety and Lost Time
Concerns about the limited driving range of electric vehicles, especially for long-haul or delivery services, can hinder adoption. Although advancements are being made, businesses operating in remote areas may face challenges finding suitable charging infrastructure.
On top of this, the charging time can be an issue for businesses. For instance, a delivery driver may lose some of their shift while they take their car to a charging point. Instead of a couple of minutes to fill a tank, it can take time to charge, though this is becoming much better with fast charging.
Integrating electric vehicles into an existing fleet requires time and resources for training personnel, adapting maintenance procedures, and ensuring a smooth transition. This can be disruptive to operations during the initial phase.
While the advantages of commercial electric vehicles are compelling, businesses must carefully weigh the challenges before making the transition. As technology advances and infrastructure improves, the barriers to adopting electric fleets are gradually diminishing. On top of this, the fact that EVs are so much cheaper to run can be a hugely beneficial long-term benefit for businesses.
With careful planning, strategic investments, and a long-term vision, businesses can reap the benefits of commercial electric vehicles while contributing to a sustainable and eco-friendly future.